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In Argentina, Cow Dung Generates Heaps Of Electricity

Moo-y bien
Moo-y bien
Hector Huergo

CHRISTOPHERSEN — Argentina's Adecoagro, an industrial farming multinational has turned one of its dairy farms into a surprising source of power. A new technique for generating energy from cow dung has now proven to supply enough electricity from cowpat to power a town of 5,000 residents. Its biodigester system with a 1.4 MW capacity, began operating in November in its state-of-the-art sheds in Christophersen in the province of Santa Fe, west of Buenos Aires.

The system was hailed last month by Argentine Minister of Agriculture Luis Miguel Etchevehere, who described the generator as "absolutely revolutionary" for its size and innovation. The farm is already a model of progressive dairy farming. Its 7,000 cows are described as living in comfort and with minimal stress in large, air conditioned sheds where they are fed, sleep on sand beds, enjoy automatic cleaning systems. Surrounding land, located in the heart of the muggy pampas, is used to grow feed crops for them.

These conditions have helped raise milk yields that have reached 37 liters a day, compared to the national average of 18 liters. Milking takes place on conveyor belts that can hold 80 cows at once, and lasts eight minutes. The farm thus milks 500 cows an hour over seven hours a day, producing 250,000 liters of milk a day.

Its only glitch was what to do with the effluents produced by these happy cows, which reportedly poop where they please, from pathways to their sand beds, requiring constant cleaning. The firm decided to use an Energy Ministry program, Renov.Ar, from 2016, to turn this waste into power.

The cowpat is separated from the sand and continually sent into three, large hermetically sealed tanks (the biodigesters). There "methanizing" bacteria act on them to produce methane gas that feeds a big generator. The Italian-designed technology came at a cost of $6 million. The firm is making plans to double the dairy farm to hold 14,000 cows. Adecoagro also produces ethanol from sugarcane in its Brazilian operations.

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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